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  • Bob Johnson

Healthy church planted

ROSEVILLE – From 1928 to 1934 the Portsmouth Spartans were a professional football team in Portsmouth, Ohio (near where David and Krista Dunham hail from).They played against the Green Bay Packers and beat them one year 19-0 in the famed “iron man” game. It was called this because the Spartan coach refused to make any substitutions and only used 11 guys the entire game. They also played against the Chicago Bears.

In 1934 they were purchased by George Richards. George was the owner of WJR in Detroit and in a compliment of sorts to the Detroit Tigers, George named his team, the Detroit Lions. For 90 years Detroit has had a football team. It feels good to see George’s desire for his team to be the “Lions of the NFL” taking place.


Why did Christ establish the church? The local church is the means that God set up to display his glory to the nations. The local church is the gathering of the people of God in an area to preach God’s Word, encourage one another, and equip one another so that we live as salt and light in our arenas and share the gospel with others.

Evangelism is necessary. But, without a local church, the believers will be ineffectual, and eventually the gospel in that area will be lost. At the same time, it is not enough for a church to simply exist. A church has to know its purpose and mission, and must keep its eye on it.


We’ve seen too many seasons where it seemed that the Lions were content with having a team. Now the goal seems to be intensely focused on winning and winning it all. We are seeing how much excitement and sacrifice people are willing to make to accomplish that.

On an eternally larger scale, we need to think that way about the church. It is not enough to exist. We have to be committed to the goal of making Christ known, being faithful to the gospel, taking the gospel to unreached peoples, and establishing and encouraging healthy churches. The process looks like this:


  1. The gospel is proclaimed and shared in an area.

  2. The conversion of new believers occurs.

  3. A church is established.

  4. More people are sent out so that the gospel can be proclaimed in other areas.

  5. Repeat 1-4 (until Christ returns)

None of these steps will take place unless there is intentionality and commitment. For many years we have (and continue) to be very intentional about preaching the gospel and building people up in it. God has kindly given us a good church. Therefore, we have been purposeful in seeking to help influence many other churches to help them pursue gospel integrity, biblical faithfulness, and health so that together we can help establish more churches and send out more church planters here and around the world. Our goal is to give away much resources and people in order that more gospel is proclaimed, and more churches are established and strengthened.


It is gratifying to see the many ways the Lord has allowed us to be part of some strategic opportunities. I think we are just at the beginning of some great things. So, I want to encourage you. Jesus is worth a beautiful bride. Your faithfulness to gathering on Sunday (not watching on-line unless you are physically unable to come), your faithfulness to loving and serving one another, your faithfulness to pursuing godliness, your faithfulness to sharing the gospel, and your faithfulness in giving really, really matter.


It is not enough to have a team. You want the team to win. It is not enough to have a church. You want the church to pursue its purpose. It’s not enough to do evangelism. We have to see healthy churches get established. God has established local churches to display his glory to the nations; and THAT is the goal!!



Bob Johnson has been serving as the Senior Pastor of Cornerstone since 1989. He has a Master of Divinity degree from the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (1997).


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